Tag Archives: mad men

Television Tuesday :: 2015 and the No Trope Bingo cards

22 Dec

notropebingo

notropebingo2

I don’t watch that many shows anymore.  (By that many, I mean I watched less than ten in first run this year, somehow.)  So I’m not going to take you through a play-by-play of the No Trope Bingo cards.  I just did a tentative drawing-up of which boxes I saw get marked and here are the ones I’ve seen the most (featured in some way or another in 5+ shows.)

Lack of queer people: I’m trying to think of openly queer characters and all I’m coming up with is sweet puppy Joey (Juan Pablo Raba) on SHIELD and Dorian (Reeve Carney) and Angelique (Jonny Beauchamp) on Penny Dreadful.

Similarly…

Compulsive heteroeroticism: SHIELD WHY.  Rest of the shows I watched, also why, but mostly this is a time to yell at SHIELD.

Narrative double standard: a good way to look at this is what constitutes a happy ending for characters.  I’m looking at you, Mad Men, where women seemed to have to choose between romantic happiness and professional happiness, if they got happiness at all, but dumb boys got to have it all.  But this is true in many places.

Women as plot devices: Betty Draper (January Jones).  Raylan’s infant daughter on Justified.  Kara Lynn Palamas (Maya Stojan).  The Game of Thrones rage-inducing baby trio of Sansa (Sophie Turner), Shireen (Kerry Ingram), and Myrcella (Nell Tiger Free).  Etcetera.

Uneven f::m ratio: sadly, the only new thing I watched this year with more women than men was Carmilla and that’s a webseries.  Virtually nothing had equally gender-split casts, though The Librarians‘ 2::3 main cast ratio is pretty good.

Looks like we’ve got more work to do, television.

–your fangirl heroine.

intense20skepticism

 

 

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Television Tuesday :: on the Mad Men series finale.

19 May

I’m not as disappointed as I thought I would be.

I’m not as thrilled as some people I watched with seemed to be.

I’m not really… anything.

So let’s just look at the fates of the six most main women at the end of the series.

Megan (Jessica Paré) was… written out at the beginning of the season.  Presumably, she’s still pursuing her acting career in California, but we don’t know, at this point we know more about her mother than her because Marie (Julia Ormond) is still sleeping with Roger (John Slattery) so she’s still relevant.

Betty (January Jones) was… diagnosed with cancer an episode ago (which, well, I’m surprised it took this long for someone to be, considering how much they all smoke, but at this point in the narrative it was essentially useless) and resigned to her fate, not wanting to seek treatment.

Sally (Kiernan Shipka) was… planning on going to Madrid before college but put those plans on hold to come home and take care of her ailing mother.  If this had been handled with conversation, I wouldn’t feel weird about it, but as is I’m kind of uncomfortable with the last image we get of Sally being her gloomily washing dishes while her dying-of-cancer mother smokes cigarettes.

Trudy (Alison Brie) was… seen in the finale only to be wearing a fancy coat and fur to get on a private plane to Kansas with her daughter and her estranged husband Pete (Vincent Kartheiser), who she had broken up with a few seasons ago in what is still one of the most glorious rages in the history of the program because he was a cheat and a liar (and also, though I don’t know that she knew this, a rapist) but who she got back together with last week, because this time he asked really nicely.

Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) was… at the beginning of the episode unhappy at her job, because they didn’t seem to be respecting her.  Then she was offered a job by Joan (more on this in a second).  Then she told Stan (Jay R. Ferguson) that she had been offered a job, got yelled at by him essentially for being too ambitious, and a day later called him to apologize and was met with a love confession.  Her scene in the closing montage was of her frowning at her typewriter and then receiving a kiss.  One of the people I watched with argued that that’s what Peggy’s always wanted, balancing a fulfilling career with a relationship with someone who respects her, and that’s true, and apparently there have been serious foreshadowings, but I… still feel a little weird about the compulsive heteronormativity of it all.  But hey, at least it wasn’t Don (Jon Hamm) telling her he loved her.

Joan (Christina Hendricks) was… let go from the new ad agency a couple of episodes ago because she wasn’t going to take their sexism anymore, then was at the beginning of the episode on vacation in Florida with her older boyfriend, who was saying he really wanted to be in her life and hey here’s some cocaine to snort (I’m not even sure why that happened that didn’t feel right at all) but then after being approached by ex-colleague Ken (Aaron Staton) about producing an ad was starting a second career as a producer.  She invited Peggy to go into business with her, writing the ads presumably, or supervising writers, or something writing, and specifically said “the partnership is only for you,” meaning she wanted Peggy to be in on it, but that apparently didn’t pan out; her boyfriend couldn’t understand why she wanted a career when she could just be with him, so he walked out, but she had her production company.  Presumably.  Joan ended on the nicest note.

I… don’t know.  I think a lot of it is that I just watch television differently than I did when I started watching Mad Men years ago.  I have different, more articulate priorities, and I have things that make me crankier and less time for manpain and narrative abstractions when they take away from characters’ arcs and agency.  High aesthetic value galore, but not entirely the resolutions I was looking for.

–your fangirl heroine.

that'll be good for a laugh

Fashion Friday :: small triumphs

8 May

peggy (elisabeth olson)

So this episode was full of canonical frustrations, but it also had moments of… I’m not sure what.  Joy, maybe?  Peggy (Elisabeth Olson) had a few of those.  Ready to take on the world.

Yard Act to Follow Top

It’s not quite the same, but it’s good enough, I think.  Yard Act to Follow Top, ModCloth.

Vivacious Venture Skirt

The buttons are on the waist not down the front, and white instead of yellow, but they’re sure there.  Vivacious Venture Skirt, ModCloth.

Bracelets & Watches - Classic Company Watch

Practical and nice.  Classic Company Watch, ModCloth.

Earrings - Bring the Dazzle Earrings

Why not.  Bring the Drizzle Earrings, ModCloth.

Sunglasses - Jam Out and About Sunglasses

Yep.  Jam Out and About Sunglasses, ModCloth.

Unmatched Charm Flat in Black

And these just make sense for Peggy.  Unmatched Charm Flat in Black, ModCloth.

–your fangirl heroine.

sure jan

Fashion Friday :: I haven’t even seen this week’s episode yet, but here’s something.

24 Apr

sally draper (kiernan shipka)

I didn’t do Sally (Kiernan Shipka) in the promo picture bunch, so here we go.

This vintage Etsy find is going to be the closest literal translation, most like; it is The Shining Pale Baby Blue 60s Babydoll Dress offered by WickedWitchVintage.

Basically Amazing Socks in Ivory

These are over-the-knee socks and not tights, but they’re close enough.  Basically Amazing Socks in Ivory, ModCloth.

Triple Your Fancy Heel in Mint

Boom, done.  Triple Your Fancy Heel in Mint, ModCloth.

Earrings - Pearl of Winsome Earrings

More floral earrings, I don’t know.  Pearl of Winsome Earrings, ModCloth.

–your fangirl heroine.

taking emotional punches

Fashion Friday :: once more.

10 Apr

So, I interrupt the MCU etymology series to bring you the last round of by-week Mad Men fashion.  This week, attempted hipster versions of the ladies’ promo dresses/outfits.  Shoes not included because none are visible.

Betty’s (January Jones):

A Classy of Its Own Dress in Floral

With bonus Westerosi halter.  A Classy Of Its Own Dress in Floral, ModCloth.

Joan’s (Christina Hendricks):

Heart Grows Frond-er Dress

Or… good enough.  Heart Grows Frond-Er Dress, ModCloth.

Peggy’s (Elisabeth Moss):

All-Around Allure Dress

The sleeveless, non-tiered version.  All-Around Allure Dress, ModCloth.

Megan’s (Jessica Paré):

Art Walk the Walk Top

Or, a suitable, non-crop-top/bell-bottom alternative.   Art Walk the Walk Top, ModCloth.

–your fangirl heroine.

oh ho

Television Tuesday :: 6 times television has actually answered my prayers

7 Apr

Only in regards to things I watched in real-time.  This is a list of things I have mostly talked about before, but that make me so happy.

6. That time Trudy (Alison Brie) dumped Pete (Vincent Karthesier), Mad Men
The funny thing about this was, I had genuinely not thought that the show would ever bother writing Trudy breaking up with Pete.  I felt like they’d been written sort of as the opposite of Betty (January Jones) and Don (Jon Hamm), insofar as — for a long time, she was still chipper about life with him.  And Trudy is a badass, so I thought maybe she’d make it work somehow, somehow.  But I really, truly hate Pete, so the episode when she just outright said “to hell with you, Pete” was a blessing and a surprise.

5. That time that Dany (Emilia Clarke) played with Missandei’s (Nathalie Emmanuel) hair, Game of Thrones
This is just the absolute silliest thing and I talk about it way too much given that it probably didn’t mean a single damn thing.  It had virtually no relevance to the plot.  The deleted scene with the two of them from the book (“never betray me” / “never”) was probably much more relevant, and achieved the same purpose of showing their closeness.  But… here.

4.  That time that Peggy (Hayley Atwell) moved in with Angie (Lyndsy Fonseca), Agent Carter
Because… because gal pals.  Because perfect, alive, happy gal pals sharing a mansion.

3.  That time that Tara (Rutina Wesley) kissed Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) an episode after Nora (Lucy Griffiths) kissed Salome (Valentina Cervi), True Blood
I am forever going to be bitter about this.  True Blood and its wasted ladies is the hill that I will die on, most like.  But — but when it happened it was so perfect and they had built to it, sort of, but somehow I wasn’t sure it was going to actually happen but it did.  And — and these two!  These two!  These two that I somehow didn’t expect I’d actually get evidence of, and then I did.

2.  That time that Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge) saved her own damn life from an infectious disease, Agents of SHIELD
This, as y’all know, is incredibly important to me.  Not least because of its timing with regard to certain other infectious diseases on television for me.  But also it’s important because — okay, here is a vulnerable (read, not ass-kicking girl) character on a vulnerable (read, Whedonverse) show, and not only does she not fall victim, she simultaneously sacrifices herself bravely and saves her own life bravely and good god sweet science princess.

1.  That time Anne Weaver (Christine Adams), Agents of SHIELD
To wit: there was an MCU ladies week on tumblr a couple of months ago, and one of the days was devoted to things we wanted from the future.  One of the things I wanted was Anne Weaver, because hey, we know she was at the Academy when Hydra took over, but we never heard what happened to her but she was totally still alive, right?  And then she showed up a part of the “real SHIELD” making some valid points (and being honest respecting Jemma more in thirty seconds than most of her own teammates had directly done all season) and the fact that I said “Anne Weaver should return” and she did is incredible because that never happens.

And there, uh, there’s another thing for this list, actually, in a similar vein as the last point, but since it is from something that just aired tonight I will not say it here out of respect for my friends that I know don’t watch the night of.  But suffice to say, I had a similar reaction as pertained to that of Anne Weaver.  And I am in a really good mood.

–your fangirl heroine.

fangirling intensifies

Television Tuesday :: 2014 and the Bechdel test

16 Dec

At least in regards to the shows I watch, which again can be found here.

So as I’ve mentioned before, I kept track of TV seasons that started this year and whether or not they passed the Bechdel test.  I can’t promise I have an exact tally, but this is what I found.

  • In season two (I didn’t count during season one because the season started last year and since I hadn’t started counting then the tally would be inaccurate) Agents of SHIELD has so far passed the Bechdel test every episode.  Sometimes it’s kind of a sketchy pass (i.e. episode nine, “Ye Who Enter Here,” when the conversation between Skye [Chloe Bennet] and Raina [Ruth Negga] did involve Skye’s father but touched on non-Skye’s father subjects for at least thirty seconds) but it’s a pass each time.  Thank the gods for Skye, because a majority of the passes were due to scenes of hers: her and Raina (how thrilled am I about her and Raina in general?  Pretty damn thrilled, honestly), her and May (Ming-Na Wen), her and Jemma (Elizabeth Henstridge).  (Actually, all of those relationships are ones I’m thrilled about.)  Also of note is episode three, “Making Friends and Influencing People,” where the Bechdel test is smashed into tiny pieces with the multitude of interactions between Skye and May and also Jemma and Bobbi (Adrianne Palicki).  Thumbs up, y’all.
  • As SHIELD goes, I will cite a first example of times that women talk about a man but it mattered a lot: that conversation in episode nine between Jemma and Bobbi that was about both of their respective man situations, kind of, because what that did was allowed Bobbi to represent for “Jemma’s side” of the situation, to give her reassurance that she does need, and allowed Jemma to finally get to tell her side of the story.
  • You know it’s a weird world when a show that is titled simply Girls can’t even pass the Bechdel test 100% of the time.  They did rate a respectable 88%, with the one episode that failed being because every conversation was about a man if I recall correctly, but still.  Wow.
  • As I mentioned before, Justified passed 66% of the time, which is still surprisingly often compared to some of the shows on my list.  And this is because Ava (Joelle Carter) went to ladyjail.  Every episode after Ava went to ladyjail passed, because ladyjail is one place where ladies are going to narratively have to speak to one another constantly and therefore some of it will be not just about men.
  • Game of Thrones and True Blood both passed 40% of the time.  As Game of Thrones goes, good job Melisandre (Carice van Houten) who was responsible for half of those passes (once with Shireen [Kerry Ingram], once with Selyse [Tara Fitzgerald]).  And as True Blood goes, well… the what-could-have-been with Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) and Adilyn (Bailey Noble) is the most important one to me.  The rest I’ve chosen to push out of my mind because they dealt largely with plots that I loathed and represented nothing good that could have been.
  • A lot of the conversations about men in Game of Thrones are, while note test-passing, still revealing of things that may or may not be important narratively and may or may not just make me smile: Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Brienne (Gwendoline Christie), Margaery and Olenna (Diana Rigg), Margaery and Cersei (Lena Headey).  Also Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel).
  • Fargo, Mad Men, and Sons of Anarchy passed two times apiece; Penny Dreadful a sad one.  The new ridiculous TNT show The Librarians has passed 1/3 episodes so far, and I can pray that it picks up with that soon, as I’m praying that it picks up in other ways soon.
  • And as for total Bechdel test failures?  True Detective, From Dusk Till Dawn, Silicon Valley.  2/3 of which I was watching because other people really wanted to and I couldn’t get out of it.

–your fangirl heroine.

fidgeting